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Reconsidering the Compact for a Balanced Budget

Monday November 2nd, 2015   •   Posted by Craig Eyermann at 4:30pm PST   •  

31661500_S Following the headlong rush by a bipartisan coalition of House and Senate members to jetison the only effective restraint on the growth of U.S. government spending in modern history before House Speaker John Boehner’s resignation became effective, it occurred to us that one way that we could quantify the badness of the deal is to consider what the bipartisan alliance of establishment politicians behind it had to do to get it to pass through the U.S. Congress.

To pass the debt deal, they had to:

  1. Negotiate the deal in secret.
  2. Ditch rules of order that had previously been established in the Congress to allow regular Americans sufficient time to review and provide their responses back to their elected representatives and senators.
  3. Ramrod it through the legislative process with what might be described as minimal, if not token, debate.

While not nearly as bad as the shenanigans that allowed the slow motion implosion that is the failing Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act to become law, the fact that the former leader of the U.S. House of Representatives failed to learn anything from that legislative debacle, where lawmakers literally were told that they needed to pass the bill to find out what was in it by Nancy Pelosi, John Boehner’s predecessor in the Speaker’s chair, it occurred to us that such “lawmakers” really need to have more obstacles placed before them, so regular Americans can be better protected from their selfish actions.

The Compact for a Balanced Budget could do that by helping establish a new balance of power between Americans and their elected officials. Developed by Compact for America’s Nick Dranias, the proposed federal balanced budget amendment to the U.S. Constitution would add a new level of protection for regular Americans from such legislative roughshodding, by forcing any measure that might increase the U.S. federal government’s statutory debt ceiling to also be considered by every state legislature.

It’s covered under Section 3 in the short summary describing the different sections of the proposed amendment:

Section 1 – balances federal budget by limiting spending to taxes except for borrowing under a constitutional debt limit.

Section 2 – establishes a constitutional debt limit equal to 105% of outstanding debt at time of ratification

Section 3 – requires approval of a majority of the state legislatures if Congress desires to increase the debt limit

Section 4 – requires the President to protect the constitutional debt limit through impoundments Congress can override

Section 5 – encourages spending and tax loophole reductions to bridge deficits, as opposed to general tax increases

Section 6 – provides necessary definitions

Section 7 – provides for self-enforcement of the amendment

What we wonder now, after having seen what happens when politicians who lack any real sense of fiscal restraint have too free a hand to abuse the rules they set just so they can get their way, is if the benefit of that feature might outweigh our previous criticism of other aspects of the Compact for a Balanced Budget’s proposed Constitutional amendment.

We’d love to hear more from our readers in the comments! Please take time to review the compact and let us know what you like or don’t like about the Compact for a Balanced Budget.

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November 2015